Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Stock futures point to more weakness
- Jobless claims on deck
- Biden agrees to curbs on $1,400 stimulus checks
- Melvin Capital gained more than 20% in February
- SpaceX Starship prototype rocket explodes after successful landing
1. Stock futures point to more weakness
Futures tied to major U.S. stock indexes were lower, pointing to the third straight losing day on Wall Street.
Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average pointed to a loss of about 50 points at the open. S&P 500 futures fell 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 0.2%. Big Tech, which got hit hard in the previous session amid rising bond yields, continued to trade in the red in the premarket. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Alphabet and Netflix all dipped slightly in early trading.
Stocks posted heavy losses during Wednesday's regular trading as rising bond yields spooked investors. The S&P 500 dipped 1.3%, while the DJIA closed down 119 points, or 0.38% lower. The Nasdaq Composite was the relative underperformer, falling 2.7% as tech names declined.
Market-moving events on Thursday include Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech at The Wall Street Journal Jobs Summit.
2. Jobless claims on deck
Investors will also get an update on the pace of the labor market recovery when first-time jobless claims data for the week ending Feb. 27 is released. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones are forecasting 750,000 first-time filers.
In the previous week, jobless claims reached 730,000, well below the 845,000 Dow Jones estimate. Continuing claims hit a fresh pandemic-era low just above 4.42 million.
3. Biden agrees to curbs on $1,400 stimulus checks
President Joe Biden has backed a plan to cut the income caps for Americans to receive stimulus checks as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package set to pass in the coming days, a Democratic source said Wednesday.
The structure would slash the direct payment income caps approved by the House. Under the lower chamber's bill, individuals making up to $100,000 (and joint filers earning up to $200,000) would have received some amount. Under the new plan, the phase-out levels for the $1,400 stimulus checks would be $75,000 in income for single filers, $112,500 for heads of households and $150,000 for joint filers.
4. Melvin Capital gained more than 20% in February
Melvin Capital, the hedge fund that got burned by the massive GameStop short squeeze, posted a more than 20% return last month, sources told CNBC's Leslie Picker.
The hedge fund saw a return of 21.7% in February, after losing 53% in January during the dramatic short squeeze that sent GameStop and other stocks soaring.
The firm said in late January that it closed out its GameStop shorts as the stock climbed. Melvin's founder, Gabe Plotkin, was one of the people brought in to testify before Congress about the volatile market moves, along with Citadel's Ken Griffin and retail trader Keith Gill.
5. SpaceX Starship prototype rocket explodes after successful landing
SpaceX's Starship prototype exploded shortly after landing for the first time following a high-altitude flight test.
The cause of Wednesday's explosion, or whether it was intentional, was not immediately clear. Elon Musk alternatively refers to explosions as "RUDs," or Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly.
The company test flew Starship rocket Serial Number 10, or SN10. SpaceX aimed to launch the prototype as high as 10 kilometers, or about 32,800 feet altitude. There were no passengers onboard the rocket, which is a development vehicle and flies autonomously.
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